When Jeff Patterson saw the decorative concrete business heating up a couple of years ago, he saw a lot of possibilities for his company — and for contractors in his area.
But he also saw that many contractors lacked the expertise to do the job right. And that most homeowners didn't know what kinds of choices were available.
“So I came up with this trailer idea,” says Patterson, vice president for business development for Muller Construction Supply, based in San Jose, Calif.
Patterson outfitted a 7' by 12' trailer with samples of the company's decorative concrete products (Muller is a Rafco distributor and also carries products from manufacturers such as White Mountain, Glaze-N-Seal, and Davis Colors) and started taking it around to home shows and contractors' offices. He's even gone to a few job sites to help contractors educate their customers. This gives homeowners a chance to look at color charts, color chips, examples of different types of sealers, stamped pieces of concrete, and literature about the products.
The trailer cost his company about $10,000, but Patterson was able to get half of that back by featuring the logos of manufacturers such as Rafco, Kraft Tool and Magnolia Brush on its sides.
At a recent home show, three people who took a tour of the trailer asked a local contractor for an estimate on decorative concrete work. The contractor got seven more calls by the following Wednesday. “It's a good selling tool for the contractor, and it lets the end-user know what is available to them,” Patterson says.
Over the last five years, Muller Construction Supply has seen phenomenal growth in decorative concrete products. “Our sales have dramatically increased year after year,” Patterson says. He gives the trailer a lot of credit. “It's done a lot to promote decorative concrete,” he says. “I literally think it sells jobs.”